Pet Peeves: The Medium Is The Message

I have a number of pet peeves and I am sure over time I will  share them all. Who am I kidding? That’s never going to happen. There are just too many.  Over time, I have mellowed and am not as annoyed with some as I am with others.  Either that or I am crotchety in my middle age and becoming more irritated with a few making me seem less irritated with the rest.  I still don’t know.

I do know that since I was in my early twenties until now this particular pet peeve has gotten under my skin like no other. My children, my husband The Ass, and even my ex could probably testify in a court of law the level of irritation that comes with this one. I may need that help one day. Really.

This pet peeve reared its ugly head the other day as I went to a local coffee shop.  It was later in the day and I was not seeking a large cup of coffee so I wouldn’t be up all hours of the night. I need my sleep and middle-aged insomnia is a reality.  I didn’t look at the menu because the order was very simple.  A small house blend.  Simple, straightforward, to the point, at least that’s what I thought.

Then This Happened

When I approached the counter the charming barista asked how he could help and I gave him my simple four word order. What happened after that is what set my teeth on edge and made anger rise up in me like a volcano birthing an island in the Pacific.  “We don’t have small.  Medium or large?” Cue the screeching brakes.

Ordering a small is never an easy task. Pet peeve of the day!

Please tell me YOU see the mistake here.  Please tell me you are in as much physical pain as I  just upon hearing this. It was like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. In my younger days I have been known to tear the poor person behind the counter a new one when I heard the sheer incorrect nature of this statement.  I kept my mouth shut, this time, but was screaming in my minds inner peaceful spot. My day ruined. For anyone missing it, here it is.  You cannot have ONLY medium and large. If you only have two sizes, then you have small and large.

Dictionary much?

The very nature of the word medium indicates a third choice. The definition of medium as an adjective is half-way between two sizes, or in the middle.  I don’t know what planet you live on, but here on Earth, if I am in the middle there is at least one thing to the left and at least one thing to the right. Middle demands that it is part of a trio in the least, like Destiny’s Child or The Supremes.  Medium cannot function as a solo or duet, the harmony is gone.

I have seen this error repeated many times in my life and while I have gained self-control in not ripping someone’s head off, it still infuriates me.  I understand it is really a marketing ploy to make people think they are getting more for their money, but at least have the decency to not call it medium. My irritation doesn’t even have to do with the upsizing of American food or the obesity epidemic from super large portions.  It simply has to do with the incorrect use of a very simple word, publicly, on menus, out loud. Please tell me I am not alone in this.

A Whole New World.

The internet has created a whole new outlet for me to take out my anger.  I no longer have to make a poor unsuspecting worker wither with a discourse on the definition of the word medium.  I can now go to the ‘Contact Us’ section of a business website or message a business on their Facebook page to let those in charge know my displeasure. Trust me, I have. It may not change, but educating others to the proper use of the word medium has become a mission.

So I ask you to now be aware of this and fight for the little drink, the diminutive, the small.  Make sure small is properly recognized and given its proper place in the drink choices at any restaurant, coffee shop, and fast food joint in America.  Put medium in its place as only a choice if there are at least three sizes available, back where language requires.

Reinventing Julie - a blog for the middle age empty nesters


About Julie Mason

Julie is a nearly fifty year old almost empty nester. Life is interesting, ever changing, fun, infuriating, and Julie wishes to share it with you all. She hopes to learn along the way as well and write about anything and everything that strikes her fancy.

39 thoughts on “Pet Peeves: The Medium Is The Message

  1. What a great post! It really makes me think about marketing strategies. I’m glad that I don’t drink coffee! That way I have one less pet peeve.

  2. Spot on. I don’t know if this is all some kind of business strategy or what. Regular or Large? Shouldn’t it be Regular or Special? Small or Large? I think creating customer confusion is their hobby.

  3. LOL! You are too funny. Good thing I don’t drink coffee! So I might be one of your pet peeves – the person taking too dang long to order. It’s because I’m trying to figure out what size of the 10 they have I want!

  4. It annoys me when some restaurants’ idea of medium is a 20 ounce and others use 32 ounce now. I’m not wanting a big gulp with my meal.

  5. You go girl…and don’t get me started on the places that have a different name for each size…wouldn’t it be better marketing to say small and large because someone may think a small is too small and therefore order a large??

    1. I do agree. By having a diminutive word it might attract to the large more. Never really thought of it that way. Thanks!

  6. Haha, I totally agree. It’s a bit like with people who say I could care less. Unbearable to listen to, especially that one cannot really do anything to stop them. I mean… They will carry on like this regardless, won’t they?

  7. One of my favorite drink places has two options, “Regular” and “Large.” What do you think of that option? I actually think having 3 sizes of drinks is ideal because sometimes you just really want a small cup and don’t want to carry something huge and bulky around…

    1. That would drive me even crazier I think. What is regular? What does that mean in terms of size actually? Okay, no I am going to get started. Lol.

  8. Oh my gosh, yes. Seriously. I’m always like, “Um, I’m sorry, but how can there be no small option available?” I also often see places that have medium, large, and extra large, which also makes no sense to me. Ugh.

    1. You mentioned an area that I have observed as well. But the piece would have been 3000 words had I gotten more into it. I love that others feel my pain. I know I am not alone.

  9. Still laughing…this bugs me too! Although despite the fact that I too suffer from middle aged insomnia (the struggle is real), I’ve never ordered smaller than the very largest coffee available…hmmm, maybe that is the message for me?

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